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Clean Power fossil fuel subsidies

Published on July 31st, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Fossil Fuels Get Tons More in Subsidies than Renewable Energy

July 31st, 2010 by  

fossil fuel subsidies


Fossil fuel subsidies are huge. It is something many of us now know, but which even more people don’t. Thus, it is something we come back to from time to time on here.

A new report out by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that governments worldwide spend a ton more on fossil fuels than on renewable energy.

In total, governments around the world spent between $43 and $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels in 2009. (That doesn’t include indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers for ethanol production.)

Sounds like a lot, right? I’m sure seeing that figure would get a lot of anti-government conservatives up in arms and saying, “See! Renewable energy couldn’t survive without government support.”

Sure, not pocket change, unless your talking to those in the fossil fuels industry. They received direct subsidies of $557 billion last year. Quite a bit more support, eh?

I don’t see the anti-government crowd joining the environmental and clean energy crowd and speaking up about this issue, though.

Whether or not renewable energy would out-compete fossil fuels in the energy market if all these subsidies were removed is worthy of plenty more debate, but the bottom line for me is this: isn’t it about time to pull the plug on the fossil fuel subsidies, given that we now conclusively know that we are baking the planet and the long-term costs of global warming far outweigh the short-term supposed costs of switching to renewable energy.

Obama certainly thinks so and is helping the world along. Hopefully we will see this happen sooner rather than too late.

via Technology Review

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Photo Credit: alles-schlumpf via flickr 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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